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Santa Monica will finally close its airport—in 2028

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A deal with the FAA paves the way for the site’s redevelopment into park land

Plane landing at Santa Monica Airport mcclave | creative commons

After years of trying to close an airport hated by many local residents, the city of Santa Monica reached a deal with federal officials allowing the city to shut down all operations at the airport by the end of 2028.

That’s a ways off, but the city is celebrating the agreement as a major victory, given the Federal Aviation Administration’s long resistance to the airport’s closure. State Assemblymember and former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom called the deal a “watershed moment in Santa Monica history.”

Residents living near the airport have long complained about the effects of plane noise and pollution on their overall quality of life. And though small carriers and private plane owners have argued the small airport is a necessary hub serving the Westside, city officials have steadfastly advanced plans to shut down the airport and replace much of it with a park.

In August, a federal judge issued a ruling requiring the airport to stay open until at least 2023. The next week, the city council passed a resolution calling for the airport’s closure in 2018, along with a major expansion of the park that already exists at the site.

Now, local officials have acquiesced to the FAA’s demands to keep the airport operational for the next decade, but in exchange, the city will be allowed to shorten its runway, limiting the amount of jet traffic able to pass through the airport.

Santa Monica will also be able to provide its own fixed based operation service, meaning that tasks like refueling and maintenance will be carried out by the city itself, rather than a third-party organization.

The deal resolves dozens of court cases between the city and the FAA, and will clear the way for the city to redevelop the land once the airport officially closes on December 31, 2028.